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Con artists are defrauding Brooklyn seniors with sinister bail scam

May 20, 2019 Noah Goldberg
A new phone scam is on the rise in New York City. Photo via Pexels
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Con artists posing as defense attorneys have been scamming senior citizens in Brooklyn for the past few months, telling the victims that their loved ones have been arrested and need money for bail, police told the Brooklyn Eagle.

The scam has quietly proliferated throughout the city, with cops looking into 12 separate similar incidents from September 2018 through April 2019. All four Brooklyn cases, in which victims paid out thousands of dollars, took place in March and April.

Three of those four victims — all 77 years old or older — wire-transferred money to the scammers.

One 88-year-old victim, however, who had been told his son was arrested and needed bail money, met the scammer in person near 20th Avenue and 59th Street in Mapleton on March 27. He handed the man $10,600 in cash — the largest amount paid in any Brooklyn case.

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In each instance, the victim’s family members had not been arrested, said Annette Shelton, an NYPD spokesperson.

“It’s a really new scam,” said Janet Gleeson, who works for the Brooklyn District Attorney. She warned Crown Heights residents at a precinct community council meeting that if they received a call where someone tells them to pay bail for a family member, they should hang up and call the relative said to be under arrest.

Police have not made arrests in any of the Brooklyn cases.

Phone scams overall have grown much more common in New York City this year. In 2018, the NYPD received just three complaints of social security phone scams. This year, through the end of April alone, police received more than 200 of the same complaints, with victims’ losses totaling over $2 million.


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